DEFINITION January 2022 – Web


they couldn’t fully comprehend at the time – and are still working through today. “Again, this was another delicate subject that we had to tread around carefully. It was decided by the director, very bravely, to shoot all the interviewees in a studio against a green screen, with warehouse imagery for the backgrounds. I filmed the plates for 19 interviews in one day! It’s amazing, because when you watch the film, you wouldn’t know,” asserts Smith. Studios are incredibly expensive to occupy, and shooting interviews in this way isn’t conventional. But, with documentaries continuing to land on big-budget streamers – like Netflix – we can expect more of it in the future. “It’s an interesting method of shooting interviews, because it helps direct the story,” Smith says. The DOP was also tasked with the title sequence, for which he is very proud. It starts on a beach, although you don’t know this at the beginning. There’s a puddle of water on the sand and, as the camera pans upwards, you notice a woman running in its reflection. The camera then moves laterally, as if running alongside her – that’s when you notice the shoreline. “This shot wasn’t planned,” explains Smith. “We hired a very large 50-1000mm Canon lens, but then found that it was too windy to get the shot the director wanted. So, rather than working against the elements, we decided to use them. With my C70 and Ronin RS 2 gimbal, I hung outside

PERSONAL JOURNEYS A documentary about processing trauma, Surviving 9/11 tells the story of 13 people who each suffered through a life-changing moment 20 years ago

the boot of the car and got as close to the ground as I possibly could. This allowed me to capture a perfectly stabilised, high-speed shot on a prime lens. I then assumed the same position outside the passenger seat to get the lateral shot. It’s incredibly lo-fi, but looks amazing – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

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“With my C70 and Ronin RS 2 gimbal, I hung outside the car... this allowed me to capture a perfectly stabilised, high-speed shot on a prime”

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WORKING WITH NATURE Shooting on location demands flexibility – Smith uses his Canon to utilise his surroundings


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